Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Oculyrici: A Medieval Lyric Database

Here's the table relationship schema for the database I've been working on for a little while now. This is one of the happy outcomes of the postdoc I had at Yale from 2013-2014 with Ardis Butterfield. And into this will go the data and photographs from the archival research trips I did during that time.

I first designed it in MS Access, but then it became clear that might not be the best platform to have people easily share it, either on their tablets, or while they were traveling. And most people at Yale are in an Apple iOS of some sort. So I redesigned it in FileMaker Pro.  It was my first jab at FileMaker so some things came slowly to me, but at least the latest versions have relational database windows, so I could at least set up table relationships with primary keys. I don't remember being able to do that ten years ago.

Here is the Folio Dashboard. It's a layout that's meant to be a go-to place in the database for visual and textual information about a lyric witness.

As for the data so far, I've added some photographs from my own research, from the online archives, and my own manuscript descriptions (for about 150 manuscripts of Middle English Lyrics, drawn from my thesis appendix). There are manuscript listings for 200 more. I'm far short of having the database properly populated; that's what I'm working on now.

I think this would be a perfect project for crowdsourcing and public access. It would be a neat way to make use of the images that are all the time going online at major institutional archives. So my goal is, currently, to have public access. At the moment it's hosted at Yale and they can't yet host it on a public-facing server. The grad course that I mentioned above currently has access. But my intention is that it will eventually be open to the public. I guess that might mean I have to redesign it again in a native web app. And of course, negotiate with all relevant archives.

One thing at a time...

1 comment:

  1. Looks great Emma! I am working with FileMaker to analyse what triggered the use of microtones in pre-Guidonian Gregorian chant (PhD project, Utrecht University, The Netherlands). Sometimes Filemaker causes more question marks than the microtones, but I cannot do without that software. Wish you success!